“For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.” Romans 16:19

It is in the nature of man to complicate things. A simple action initiates a pinball set of circumstances far beyond our control. Intervening efforts routinely produce unintended consequences. By reason of fear, over-evaluation sets in, the hand-wringing begins and the problem is declared “complicated.”

Best-selling books are written on the subject of bringing simplification to every mystery-filled aspect of life. Gordian knots of our 21st century lives such as nutrition, taxes, computers, finances and relationships all provide fodder for the pen and microphone.

The Author of our salvation provides the greatest source of wisdom which parts the fog of human intellect with such a strong light of truth that He is often accused of oversimplification. The most complicated mathematical problems are solved by steady application of fundamental mathematical principles. Why not employ a similar method to slice complicated problems into evermore manageable bites?

God’s wisdom is always profound in insight and concise in simplicity. When you consider the expansive applicability of the Ten Commandments, the enduring perspective of the Beattitudes, the multifaceted glories of the parables, or the intuitive and penetrating questions of the Savior, you cannot deny that God is omni-sapient and revels in imparting wisdom to His beloved children.

No matter how big your problems may appear, you are bound to find solutions in the Bible with a little bit of effort. The verse cited above was forged in a knotty atmosphere of divisions, offenses, ignorance, self-interest, unethical subterfuge and deception. These tactics were then, and today are, calculated to mislead the “innocent” and require the believer to be ever on his guard. Paul enjoins the believer to live by God’s simple guiding principles through the uncharted future. God measures the illness and prescribes the medicine.

First, there is the heart attitude of obedience to God. Without faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ by His shed blood in substitutionary death, there can be no redeeming grace in your life. When Jesus ransoms you from sin-slavery your heart soars in worshipful obedience to so great a Savior. That type of obedience cannot be kept secret. Paul says the believer’s obedience is such that it is known for what it is—obedience to God.

Second, the obedient believer makes it his business to be “wise in what is good.” This wisdom is won by watchful observance, one which looks around and gains insight and inventiveness in what brings godly beauty. It is the wisdom of a skillful workman in the divinely excellent. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:20, “Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.”

Third, the obedient believer is to be “simple concerning evil.” Evil is what is purely bad with no redeeming quality whatsoever. Therefore the believer is to jealously maintain purity, being unmixed and pure (simple, no fillers, exclusive to evil). Jeremiah 4:22 indicts unbelieving Israel with these words: “For my people are foolish, they have not known Me. They are silly children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.”

The believer is to take the pointed needle of Scriptural truth and patiently apply it to the knotty people-problems of life. Then he will see God straighten out the thread of his life. What knotty problem are you facing? What evil behavior do you need to correct? What divine wisdom for good can you obediently apply? Trust and obey.